Today’s guest post delights my satyr cohorts. They’re currently playing poker with Chuggie, and partying hard. I told them to clean up after themselves. That’s all I ask. Anyhoo, on with our guest blogger!
Brent Michael Kelley lives and writes in the Wisconsin Northwoods. He shares a home with such things as hairless dogs, a snake named Darth Batman, and the woman he married on Halloween. In addition to writing about his pal Chuggie, he likes writing story-poems, painting monsters, and making wine. Some say late at night, if you’re alone by a campfire, you can summon Brent by closing your eyes and saying his name eleven times. He insists this is not true and there’s no way it will work… yet.
Pay Brent a visit at: http://www.catbat.com/bmk/ or click on his pic above to check out his facebook.
The Birth of Chuggie
It was 2001 or 2002, I can’t be positive. I was an Art major at University of Wisconsin – Stout. One day my painting instructor told us about her muse, a woman who came and stood beside her while she painted. I admit I was fascinated and wanted a muse, too. Later that night, I went to work summoning one of my own. I’m sure I hoped for a hot chick in a bikini with a little attitude, but that’s not what I got.
First he told me only his name: Chuggie. It soon became clear Chuggie was quite intoxicated, a permanent condition. His voice sounded like gravel. I invited him to come visit again so I could find out more about him, and he obliged. He scowled at everything and always squinted. He had five horns and a chain across his chest.
Soon after, a bunch of classes in the Art Dept. took a field trip to some galleries in Minneapolis. I spent the day milling around with my girlfriend’s BFF, worshipping Dali paintings and scoffing at Mondrians. I gravitate towards dark or surreal art, and I’d taken in many wondrous examples that day. They swirled in my head.
On the bus ride back to school, I began to write in my sketchbook. It was a gloomy, foggy scene about Chuggie clawing his way through the brush and emerging in a field full of petrified wooden posts. He knew right away he’d stumbled into a Desecration. Little monsters skittered out of the weeds and hissed at him through mouths full of needle-like teeth. One told him, “In death, you will serve the Gooch!”
He bashed that one with the metal weight at the end of his chain, and the other vanished into the haze. He couldn’t fight his way back through the brush, so he ventured further into the Desecration. It all had something to do with a knife made of bone called the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu and a purse made from the face of a goat.
Over the years the story surged and receded. It was always in the back of my mind, but I was no writer. It was just something to fart around with when I was bored. I drew Chuggie’s picture. I drew Steel Jacks.
After graduation, I ended up in St. Paul, MN designing signs. My lady was living about 3 hours away, damn near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Driving to see her, I would jabber on into my voice recorder, working on my Chuggie story with Tom Waits playing on the stereo. It was Highway 64 most of the way, one of my all-time favorite roads in this world. Crows cawed on fence posts and deer grazed in fields as I rolled through. Whether I was coming or going, I always seemed to drive that road at sunset. I have over 30 tapes filled with Chuggie ramblings and angry rants about other drivers. It’s pretty amusing if you listen to the playback at double speed. At my apartment in West St. Paul, I covered my coffee table with white paper off a roll. I filled it time and again with sketches and notes. They’re still around, my sheets of coffee table notes.
I moved back to Wisconsin after a couple years in Minnesota. Moved in with my lady. We bought a house, and a dog. I signed up for a workshop with Mr. Jeremy C. Shipp, where I learned a great deal about writing and publishing. I also made several key literary contacts. We got another dog. Chuggie was getting closer. Hell, I could smell his pipe smoke wafting under the door.
Omnium Gatherum decided to take a chance on my little story last summer. We signed a contract in September or something, then I got to work on the second rewrite. Chop this scene, expand that one, more description here, I don’t know what you’re saying there. Then final edits. Then proofing. Then a final round of tweaks. Boom. Now it’s published. You can buy a copy on Amazon in print or eBook.
It’s JUST. THAT. EASY.
Oh, and since you ask, yes I am working on the sequel. I think I can wrap the next one up in well under a decade, though. Just gotta get back out on Highway 64.
You can grab a copy of Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater for your Kindle or your bookshelf by clicking the links here. Alternatively, click Brent’s book cover or this cheeky satyr to grab a copy.
Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater
In the first installment of Mischief Mayhem Want and Woe, Brent Michael Kelley unleashes the horrors of Desecration on Stagwater.
Norchug Mot Losiat, Chuggie to his friends, is walking Drought. When, in his rambling, he stumbles upon the remote city of Stagwater, he finds love, temptation, and treachery. He fights against men, demons, and his own nature to battle the sinister forces threatening the city. But Chuggie? All he wants is a boat.